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April 7, 2022

Thales deploys solar-powered air traffic control radar station in Chile

Together, the radars offer all the operational surveillance requirements for both civil and military air traffic control.

Thales has bolstered air traffic surveillance with a radar station that is completely powered by solar energy in Chile.

Situated at Calama in the Atacama Desert, this is the first radar system of its kind to feature solar panels. 

Developed by Thales for the civil aviation authority of Chile, Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil (DGAC), the station has 330 solar panels that draw power by leveraging the high levels of sunshine in the region.

The radar station features an advanced Star Next Generation (NG) primary radar as well as a Radar Service Message (RSM) secondary radar.

Together, these radars offer all the operational surveillance requirements for both civil and military air traffic control (ATC).

They are designed to identify both slow and fast-moving targets, such as helicopters, commercial planes and jets.

The system also features wind farm mitigation filters.

Besides solar panels, the radar station also has a comprehensive power management system with advanced battery technology and backup generators to safeguard it and secure the operations in the case of power outages or restricted availability of regular sources.

Thales Worldwide head of civil radars Lionel De Castellane said: “Thales strives to deliver the best-in-class solutions for ATC radars with the latest technological innovations, for the highest detection capabilities and altimetry, as well as working on sustainable projects.

“Today’s climate and energy constraints means new ways of doing things and we are proud to contribute to the world’s first ATC radar contributing to a greener and more sustainable air travel future for the DGAC in Chile, as well as improving the safety of Chilean skies.”

In March, Thales was awarded a contract by Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP) to supply an advanced air traffic management system.

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